Mt. Elliott (or as we call it on the Tour de Hood, the Col du Mont Elliott)

Mt. Elliott, as a street name, has always confused me. The contour of the street itself is as little like a mountain as imaginable:  Not even a small hill interrupts its gentle flow across the east side.  After riding up part of its length on Saturday, I wanted to get some details about why a flat road is named “Mount”, which my cousin Paul was kind enough to pass along.

mtelliottStreet & Cemetery

There’s a famous Detroit cemetery on the south side of the street; it’s called Mt. Elliott Cemetery.  I thought the cemetery was named for the street, but I had it backwards; the street is named for the cemetery, and the cemetery is named for Judge (and practicing architect) Robert Thomas Elliott, who wanted a Catholic cemetery for Detroit’s burgeoning Irish population. (I guess he didn’t want to spend eternity in the company of amidst the French Catholics who had originally settled Detroit).

Anyway, the Honorable Judge Elliott was instrumental in the purchase of the property, which was consecrated in 1841. The cemetery was named for the judge, who was killed in a construction accident shortly thereafter.

The “Mount” part is simply a style of cemetery naming current at the time of its consecration.  Got it? Good. Let us proceed up the “Mount”.

At its base is a nifty sign adjacent to a weird cafe/art gallery/auto displayground.  Let the good cheer begin.

enjoydetroitDig that Pontiac

Parked a dozen yards or so up the street was a mini bus with a terrific promise.

totalhospitalityIt’s an “Escort” brand bus. Coincidence?

I waited to be transported to the vehicle’s mystery destination, but it just sat there.

One of Detroit’s most famous tourist attractions, (the Heidelberg Project) abuts Mount Elliott, but I concentrated on some lesser-known features, like the fab pawn shop at Mt. Elliott’s intersection with Gratiot.

goldmineYee hah! There’s gold in that there shop.

Dreams of wealth beyond avarice soon fade, though. Mt. Elliott quickly reverts to more typical Detroit scenes. Like this shop.

finethings“Fine” does not include paint

Near the intersection with E. Grand Blvd., I wandered off-course, and came across this week’s stump the misterarthur winner, a company named….?

cuombCuster’s Tomb?  Cruet Bomb?

I’ve noted before that we’ll spray graffiti on just about anything in our fair city, these abandoned tires being a prime example:

taggedtiresMy tread’s lusher than your tread

These tagged tires were cheek-by-jowl with one of Detroit’s more spectacular collapsed buildings. The whole mess is very near to the ex-Packard factory, but I’m not sure if this “structure” was ever part of the car producing firm.

collapsedAnyone need a sectional – slightly used?

Some people were scrounging around amongst the ruins, “recycling” some cinder blocks they’d managed to find. It appears to be a popular wrecked area, as every graffitier has left a mark somewhere in its vicinity:

accessorydollsThanks for the offer

Once I crossed the Edsel Ford Freeway, and passed the Cadillac plant, Mt. Elliot forks off to the right, and if you continue straight along, you’ll find yourself on Conant, as I did. The rest of my ride looped me back home.  I did go by the Kowalski factory,

kowalskiIs that a big prong in your sausage, or are you just glad to see me?

and before I got home, I also passed a Deli (now defunct) which appears to have been named for one of the Seven Deadly Sins.

greedysdeliMore hand-dipped ice cream, please

The Deli’s on Oakland street, in case you’re looking for proof that you don’t mess around with Capital Vices in public.

At the Avalon Bakery (I recommend the blueberry buckle cake) I met two charming people, Johnette, who raises money for impoverished South Africans at her site, Afribike, and a real Detroit tour guide, Mark Denson, from Dtours Detroit. Check out their respective sites


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